Satellite operator secures significant French investment

UK government-backed OneWeb aims to put 600 satellites into Low Earth Orbit

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OneWeb has announced $550m investment from French space group Eutelsat, supporting its plans to provide global high-speed internet via a network of 600 satellites.

The UK-based satellite operator has plans to encircle the globe with more than 600 satellites in low orbit, providing internet coverage to “even the most remote corners of the planet”.

The investment by Eutelsat brings total funding of OneWeb to $1.9 billion, and will see the French company acquire a 24 per cent stake in the business. This matches the UK government’s stake in OneWeb which it acquired for $500m last year.

Eutelsat is one of the three largest satellite telecoms operators globally for "fixed services", such as direct-to-home TV, phone and data connections.

The French investment comes after OneWeb announced the launch of 36 further spacecraft to take its total satellites now in orbit to 182.

Speaking of the investment, OneWeb chief executive, Neil Masterson, said: "We are delighted with the investment from Eutelsat, which validates our strategy, technology and commercial approach.

"We now have 80 per cent of the necessary financing for the Gen 1 fleet, of which nearly 30 per cent is already in space.”

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